OSSE Awarded Grant from Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge

Last week, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced grant winners for the Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge, which included OSSE, DC Department of General Services (DGS), and DC Public Schools (DCPS). Our very own Division of Wellness and Nutrition partnered with DCPS and DGS in order to establish an outdoor classroom at the Hardy Middle School/Fillmore Arts Center campus for the Challenge. The proposed 11,000-square-foot classroom will be built with sustainable materials and serve as a learning space for students interested in environmental and health education, storm-water management, renewable energy, nutrition, and urban agriculture. The project was awarded $330,000 and will serve as a model for more outdoor classrooms throughout the District with the creation of the DCPS Outdoor Classroom Design Guide.

The Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge awarded a total of $2.35 million in grants to various organizations for their ingenuity in creating environmentally friendly projects that will benefit the health, ecology, and economy of DC. Below is a list of the other projects awarded:

Organization: University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Project: Aquaponics Farming

Aquaponics Farming is a  unique combination of fish breeding and plant growing that is in a closed loop. Plants grow in the water and fish provide nutrients for the plants and vice-versa. UDC plans on building three to five aquaponics demonstration projects that each have the potential of generating 500 pounds of fish and 5,000 pounds of produce while providing jobs for low and semi-skilled District residents.

Award Amount: $519,500

Organization: University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Project: Demonstration Kitchen

The Demonstration Kitchen is in tended as a business-incubator for local growers, food processors, and entrepreneurs. The kitchen will provide hands-on training for job-seekers looking for opportunities in the restaurant field and provide healthy, fresh food for areas where produce and other healthy food is not available.

Award Amount: $280,000

Organization: University of the District of Columbia (UDC)

Project: Native Plant Nursery

The Native Plant Nursery will serve as both a training facility and growing space for native plants that can combat invasive plant species. In partnership with the DC Cooperative Weed Management Area (of DDOE), the nursery will provide green job training for green house management, plant production, invasive plant management, and habitat restoration.

Award Amount: $121,500

Organization: District Department of Transportation (DDOT)

Project: Oxen Run Green Infrastructure

In partnership with the Department of General Services (DGS) and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), the Oxen Run Green Infrastructure provides much needed storm water management facilities along with low impact development techniques for roads along the Oxen Run Park.

Award Amount: $400,000

Organization: DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)

Project: Cooperative Greenhouses

DPR will rebuild two formerly abounded greenhouses in order to grow healthy and sustainable food for District residents. With help from the Department of General Services (DGS), the Cooperative Greenhouses will also serve as a training area for the public along with cooperative management programming with local urban agriculture nonprofits.

Award Amount: $200,000

Organization: DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR)

Project: Water Saving Splash Pad

The Water Saving Splash Pad will be a educational and play opportunity for children, in that it will capture and reuse rainwater the the splash pad complete with water jets and sprays. The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) and Department of General Services (DGS) will assist in the creation of the outdoor recreation facility that will also serve as a model for potential projects using a similar rainwater recycling system.

Award Amount: $492,000

For more information about Sustainable DC and their green initiatives in the District, visit sustainable.dc.gov.

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